The McCain Family
“Several CAMH patients told me that the simple act of putting a name on that building made them feel legitimized and accepted in society.” - Michael McCain
Speaking at Toronto’s Empire Club, Michael McCain, President and CEO of Maple Leaf Foods, was open about his family’s initial hesitation at naming The McCain Building at CAMH.
“For us, giving isn’t about flashing our name in bright lights everywhere; it isn’t about ego; it’s about making a real difference where it counts most,” said of the $2 million gift his family made to support the redevelopment of CAMH’s campus.
But when hospital patients approached him at the unveiling ceremony for The McCain Building in May 2009, he understood the true value of his contribution to mental health:
“Several CAMH patients told me that the simple act of putting a name on that building made them feel legitimized and accepted in society,” said Michael. “It was the first time they felt society understood their illness and was willing to support them.”
The McCain Building, which houses CAMH’s Mood and Anxiety Program, was the first of four Alternate Inpatient Milieu units to go up on White Squirrel Way in 2008 during the first phase of the redevelopment. As the first building at CAMH to be named by a donor, it signalled an important shift in public attitudes toward mental illness and addiction.
Michael also became an active volunteer with the CAMH Foundation, and quickly stepped by taking on the role of Co-Chair of the Transforming Lives Capital Campaign to raise $100 million for CAMH’s redevelopment. “There is an overriding social injustice—these issues are not properly recognized or supported because of the associated stigma.”
Michael’s wife Chris also lends volunteer leadership to CAMH. She plays an important role in the success of CAMH’s gala fundraiser, Unmasked
Margaret and Wallace share Michael’s sentiments: “These are areas of medicine that have been under-funded and misunderstood. We are very happy that these serious deficits are being corrected,” said Margaret. Her education in social work, coupled with her well-known involvement with issues affecting women and children, such as family violence, have given her a keen insight into CAMH’s mission.
Learn more about CAMH’s redevelopment.